Support. Connect. Share.
Having a serious or life-threatening medical condition can make it even harder to cope with already-difficult realities of being a teenager. Supporting a brother or sister who has an illness can be daunting as well. With this in mind, Starlight Children’s Foundation created Starbright World®, an online social network exclusively for sick teens and their siblings.
Starbright World is an online social network where teens (ages 13 to 20) who have serious medical conditions, and siblings of seriously ill teens, can connect with each other via moderated chat rooms, games, bulletin boards, videos, and more. Starbright World is a virtual hangout where teens can build on existing friendships or create new ones, from home or from the hospital.
Many teens living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses are unable to leave the hospital or their homes, which often results in feelings of isolation and getting left behind by friends. On Starbright World, teens find that they are not alone and establish meaningful relationships with others their own age who are struggling with the same issues. They have multiple ways to connect with each other, such as the moderated chat room, bulletin boards, polls, ecards and more.
- My Life
The community's My Life profile section was developed specifically to help teens with life-threatening illnesses acknowledge and cope with the possibility of death. The goal is to help sick teens process their feelings and understand their fears about their illnesses, while at the same time making it easier to communicate about what they are feeling. Teens can also express themselves through pictures and personal profiles on favorite books, music, food, movies and hobbies.
- The Latest
A very important part of Starbright World is keeping all of the members updated on who’s who and what’s what. The Latest section is an entire page on the site dedicated to just that. Who posted new pictures, who sank your Battleship and when the deadline is for contest entries. Keeping all members in “the loop” keeps them engaged and active members of the community.
Starbright World boasts an exciting collection of both interactive (Battleship, Connect Four, Mankala) and single-player (Sandwich Shop, Gem Swap) games. To keeps things lively, the players with the highest scores are posted directly on the site, allowing members to comment on the game activity.
Last but definitely not least is the post-your-own video section of the site where members can share their creative genius with their friends about their diseases, lives, or anything they want to showcase.
Starbright World members love the features and capabilities of this community, as it reminds them that they are not alone and provides much-needed peer support. As one user tells us: "I think Starbright World is a good idea. It gives us a chance to talk to other people in the same situation. It lets you find out for yourself that there are others like you. You also have the chance to let your mind wander away from your pain. So I'm just writing to say thank you," said Altavoice2, a Starbright World user.
The Web Marketing Association honored Starbright World with 2 Standard of Excellence Awards in nonprofit websites and online communities as part of its 11th annual WebAward Competition for website development. More than 2,400 sites from 40 countries were judged in 96 industry categories during this year's competition. Entries were judged on design, copywriting, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation and use of technology. Starbright World scored particularly well in regards to design, innovation and technology and was off the charts for interactivity!